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Norms and values for media in 2030

Picture: courtesy of

On Thursday 11th July 2013 (4 PM Brussels time / CET), as part of the Futurium webinar series, Charles Ess*, Andrea M. Matwyshyn** and Daniel Knapp*** probed future norms and values for the media.

*Associate Professor in Media Studies, Department of Media and Communication, Director, Centre for Research on Media Innovations, University of Oslo

**Assistant Professor, Legal Studies & Business Ethics, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Affiliate, Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Affiliate Scholar,  Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School.

***Director, IHS Screen Digest, Advertising Research

Will there be a shift in the "vulnerable consumer" paradigm for media regulation by 2030?

The discussion was organized around three themes:

  1. Freedom of expression / Censorship
  2. Child protection
  3. Advertising

An extended webinar where Futurizens from across the world had the opportunity to debate the "vulnerable consumer" theme both with each of the expert who launched the thematic discussion, and with each other. 

This webinar was co-organised by the Digital Futures team and DG CONNECT's Converging Media unit.

Below you will find some briefing material to see the type of issues that were discussed. We will also be adding evidence for your consideration over the coming days.

(1) Freedom of expression / Censorship: Anarchy versus Big Brother (Charles Ess)

Below is a video recording of Charles Ess's keynote speech from the webinar. 

The development of Internet and new media has already led to a new debate regarding control. Control is both sought and resented. Fears and risks can also be perceived in terms of control : too much of it – at the expense of freedom and privacy - or lack of it – at the expense of security protection and sustainability. In these times of crisis, it is hard to identify who has control of what, when and with what scope. The media environment has not escaped this situation. Responsibilities and liabilities are already hard to allocate clearly and endorsed unambiguously. The decision of the UK government to filter public Wi-Fi to prevent access to pornographic content is one controversial example of control. Values raise their head: freedom of expression must be weighed against the protection of democracy, against terrorism of extremism. These debates are not new, but in the rise of new media, they will become ever more acute, given the speed and leverage effect that digital media can have.  Also, new private actors whose size brings them close to a universal reach have emerged; they are starting to weigh the acceptable and unacceptable. 

  • Where will we be in 20 years future? 
  • Will the media still be free and open or will everyone access content that has already been pre-cleared according to his/her preferences, age, interests of political or religious opinions?
  • In 20 years' time, will the balance between freedom of expression and protection of the public still be the same?

(2) Child protection: Should children be empowered in 2030, protected or both ? How will we look at child protection? Protection from what and how? (Andrea M. Matwyshyn)

Below is a video recording of Andrea Matwyshyn's keynote speech from the webinar. 

Children at all times have always benefited from a special protection. Legal protection is granted because they may not be fully aware of the consequence of their actions. Also children have the right to grow up in a caring and protected space which will support them and enable them to develop their personality. Yet access to digital media opens a digital space to which they could not have physical access  and in which rules would not apply to them in the physical world. The right to make mistakes and to learn from them is a learning mechanism and can also be a phase of the development of the personality. Yet, if bad experiences happen on the Internet, the consequences might stay forever and be regretted afterwards. On the other hand, young digital natives are generally more technologically savvy than their parents and the use of digital media will be part of their natural environment and development.

  • What will be the paradigm for access and use of the digital media by the younger generation in 20 years' time?
  • Does the map of vulnerabilities change?
  • Will we navigate away from a protection paradigm to an empowerment paradigm?

See example: Indochine clip college boy:

(3) Advertising: will the vulnerable consumer paradigm persist? (Daniel Knapp)

Below is a video recording of Andrea Matwyshyn's keynote speech from the webinar. 

Advertising on media is generally seen as an intrusive necessary evil to allow benefiting from the content. Where it was considered to be really intrusive - on television in particular - it was deemed necessary to regulate television advertising both in terms of exposure ceilings and content; and there have long been bans for certain products or for certain public. The rationale for this European model was that there was a limited social acceptance of the disruptive effect of advertising and that more advertising would not meet the public expectation. With growing interactivity and possible control is there a need to reconsider the balance? Is control a prerequisite to a shift in the vulnerable consumer paradigm?

  • In 20 years' time how will the public perception of marketing and advertising evolve?
  • Will advertising or paid for content be part of a natural ecology of the media and no longer be perceived as apotentially intrusive or disturbing element?


Participation to all webinars is free and open to all who are interested in the subject. 

The webinar took place entirely online in a virtual room

Those who want to understand all technical nuts and bolts of participation in our webinars through the virtual room may read the webinar mini-manual, downloadable from here.

Date & Time: 
Thursday, 11 July, 2013 - 16:00 to 18:00
Event Type: 
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